I love it when a plan comes together.
I had one of those musical epiphanies today that I love so much to get. I've started using last.fm, and today I was listening to the Queensrÿche mp3s I brought into work on the thumb drive my very excellent girlfriend gave to me. In reading the handy bio information that comes up when you play a song, I found out that one of my favorite songs, "Gonna Get Close to You" is actually a cover.
Queensrÿche - 04. Gonna Get Close to You
Not only is it a cover, but it's a song written and performed originally by (Lisa) Dalbello. I know of Dalbello from her work on Alex Lifeson's side-project, Victor. She was remarkable on that project for sounding in the chorus like none other than Alex's bandmate Geddy Lee (much to the confusion of the less anal-retentive fanboys out there, in the days before widespread internet access and resources like wikipedia and allmusicguide).
Victor - 03. Start Today
Of course, she puts forth an amazing vocal effort. I prefer the parts where she doesn't sound like old-school Geddy; her speaking voice is just the perfect shade of sultry combined with brassy to make a teenage boy weak at the knees. It's no wonder she's the voice of Canadia's CBC News. Here's a page with a sample of her advertising voice work.
But through all of this discussion, I haven't told you anything about the song. It's pretty high in the pantheon of creepy stalker songs (of which there are so many that I may have to do an uberpost of them all). Now I've never really bothered to stalk anyone myself; but as someone formerly studying criminal and forensic psychology, I found it fascinating to 'collect' songs of this microgenre. So when I finally got my hands on QR's "Rage for Order" (such a great title), this song electrified me. It was so creepy, so very creepy, yet... almost a love song. It's the fine line that all great stalker songs straddle. I was struck by how the narrator, uncompromising as he was; well, how sympathetic it was to his viewpoint. You were almost like, "yeah, get the girl," in the way you might while watching a romantic comedy. Well, ok, maybe not. But you could believe this person thought that what they were doing was justified, and, even scarier, out of love. I can only imagine how frightening this song might be to someone who's actually been stalked. And therein lies the power of the song; verisimilitude. And it's the genuine emotions that every teenage boy stumbles through, but amplified to levels where it causes socially inappropriate behavior. And, like some impossible figure, it held my attention as I struggled to see both sides at once.
Imagine my surprise at finding out this song had been written by a woman. Which is sexist and old-fashioned of me, despite the fact that women have been capable of stalking and have been stalking for as long as our species can remember. I don't know if it's still common practice among the youth of today, but the term "stalker" was thrown around quite frequently when I was in college, to refer to any boy who was giving a girl unwanted attention. Not undue attention, mind you, just unwanted. So I still think of men as the stalkers and women the stalkees. I've never seen Fatal Attraction, either; so I guess my mind will just have to be blown by it when I do. But there are some sexual dimorphisms, as well as attitudinal differences, between the genders. Men, statistically speaking, tend to be bigger and stronger and more able to force themselves on women. On the other hand, to a certain extent, some guys find flattering a level of attention from women (especially women who look like Dalbello, let's be honest) that would have your average girl reaching for the mace. So I was trying to figure out for myself whether this song is more or less creepy for having been written by a woman. It was fun to think about the gender balance part of the equation, but the point is moot anyway; the reality is horrifying either way. The music, however, is sheer rapture.
Dalbello - Gonna Get Close to You
Often, the question with covers is: Which is better? Original or cover? In this case, they're both awesome in different ways, musically. I pick up different things listening to either version. Again, not to downplay the seriousness of the issue, but I imagined today for a moment that they were singing about each other. "You weren't home last night, John. Where were you? Out with some whore?" "No, way, baby. I was outside your apartment, in the bushes, waiting for you to come home, honest." What a cute couple they could be. "Happy anniversary, sweetie. Here's a doll I made from hair I cut off you while you were sleeping over the course of the past month." "Aww, thanks. Here's a pillow I knit out of underwear I stole from you while you weren't home." Isn't a big part of why stalking is so bad, outside the threat of violence, that it's outside the comfort level of one of the parties? What if both sides were cool with it (or hell, turned on)? If they're out there (and they must) and they've found each other, more power to 'em.
I'm serious about the stalker songs post, though, so I thought I'd throw it wide open for people to suggest their faves. So far I have:
* Gonna Get Close to You (both versions)
* Every Breath You Take (Police)
* One Way or Another (Blondie, another girl-stalker song, and the only one on the list I associate with a real person)
* Molly McGuire's Wish Number One ("No one can see you stare as you watch her move, as you want her...")
* Radiohead's Creep? Does that count?
* STP, Sex Type Thing
I know there are plenty I'm forgetting, as well as those I don't even know about. Any help is appreciated (and if you can hook me up with mp3s, all the better)!
On Vox: You think I'm a fool, or maybe some kind of lunatic.
I love it when a plan comes together.